“That’s the past, we’re here in the present to move forward,” former Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV told reporters inquiring about some of his past statements as he endorsed his former rival, Rep. Charlie Rangel, for reelection. “I think at this time, as I mentioned before, elections are about choices. At this time, Charlie Rangel is the best candidate to represent us in Congress.”
The list of past critical statements is long, including Mr. Powell saying “Rangel’s best days are behind him” and declaring that the ethical charges against him were “at the very least it’s embarrassing, even to his strongest supporters.”
Mr. Rangel was able to hit back at the time, at one point declaring that Mr. Powell “used to be a nice young man.”
“I think God has really blessed him with his dad’s good’s looks, his dad’s name, and then God gave up on him,” he added, referring to Mr. Powell’s father, who held Mr. Rangel’s seat before him.
Mr. Powell ran against Mr. Rangel in 1994 and 2010, and he insisted that sort of rhetoric was inevitable during the campaign.
“That’s in the past. That’s in the past,” he said as reporters continued to bring up their past rivalry. “You can’t turn back the clock but you can wind it up again. And that’s what we’re doing today, we’re giving our clock new time, new life … We oftentimes say things in the heat of the political debate. The fact is that was then, this is now.”
And both of them claimed they’ve never really had beef with one another. Mr. Rangel said the two haven’t ever had an unpleasant word with one another, while Mr. Powell declared “there’s never been really any animosity.”
“Adam, I know it’s going to be disappointing to some that we’re not fussing and fighting,” Mr. Rangel told his one-time rival during today’s event, which was held in front of a statue of Mr. Powell’s father. “Your endorsement means more than just the political worth. This statue means a lot to you, a lot to me, and many of the people who support me will never forget, never stop loving your dad.”
For what it’s worth, Mr. Powell also said he would be interested in running again for the Mr. Rangel’s seat in the future, especially if the incumbent retires.